Games and Language Learning
Learning a new language requires hard work and concentrated focus. Effort is required throughout the enterprise and must be maintained for what is (for all intents and purposes) a long period of time. Using games during the language learning process is a way to help students learn faster and more easily, as well as motivating them to sustain their interest in the work.
Games are particularly useful as a tool for the teacher. By using games, the teacher can create a context in which using the newly-acquired language skills is useful and meaningful. Given a specific activity in which the learners want to take part, learning the language becomes a means to a specific end and each new acquisition is immediately put to use and rewarded. Games also provide an emotional context to their learning: when students are amused, angered, intrigued or even surprised, it is clear that the content is meaningful for them.
The need for meaning when learning a new language is something that has received increased acceptance in the past decade. We call meaning to the particular and specific ways in which students respond to a piece of content. Games provide a multitude of associations to the content that is being learned. From the rules of the game (and how this content helps understand, navigate or put them to use) to the interaction with the game elements and other players, each piece of content falls into place as a part of a bigger whole. Because of the way our brains work, the more associations we make with a particular bit of information, the more ways we have to access that information and the more ways we have of figuring out effective uses for it.
Using engaging games to help students learn new languages is a method that has been used in some of the leading boarding schools for some time now; students and teachers, however, don't need to be attending the best boarding school UK to take advantage of this tool. Games are useful in both short and longer courses and teachers can find many resources online to start reaping the rewards of this powerful motivator.
Join us in "playing" our way to a great education.